None of which is to say United did not deserve to win: They certainly did. Rather, it's to remind ourselves that results and performance don't always go hand in hand. And those who have seen many of United's home draws this season will likely agree with that. Jose Mourinho made it seem like it was no big deal. It was, he said, pretty much the same game plan that Manchester United used against Chelsea Asdrubal Cabrera Womens Jersey at Stamford Bridge in the FA Cup last month, and had that quarterfinal tie remained 11 vs. 11 -- Ander Herrera was sent off in the first half -- he was "totally convinced" that it would also have resulted in victory, just as it did on Sunday when his side beat the Premier League leaders 2-0. In fact, though, it was a big deal. Mourinho left out the likes of Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Henrikh Mkhitaryan and Michael Carrick, plus Antony Martial, who wasn't even on the bench. He played three center-backs, pushed his wing-backs higher than most had anticipated and deployed Marcus Rashford and Jesse Lingard up front. Plus, of course, he had Herrera man-marking Eden Hazard. In any case, all of this contributed to breaking Chelsea's supply lines to their front men, while also ensuring United could get the ball forward quick enough for Rashford to find space and rattle the opposing back three. Mourinho said afterward that he simply picked the best lineup for the game and that he wasn't necessarily prioritising Thursday's Europa League quarterfinal second leg with Anderlecht. That may be true, but the fact that several of his big guns got a breather is an additional plus. Because there are very few shades of grey in the media (especially when it comes to Mourinho: it's either black or white), this was hailed as a "tactical masterclass." In terms of performance, it's hard to argue anything else. In terms of result, though, you can flip it any way you like. Playing that way gets a whole heck of a lot easier when you go a goal up after seven minutes. Herrera's handball, just before his through ball to Rashford for the opener, was pretty evident to all, bar referee Bobby Madley. And the second goal, scored by Herrera, featured a considerable deflection. The FC crew talk tactics in Damon Harrison Womens Jersey the United v Chelsea match, and how Manchester shut down Chelsea's free-flowing style. Mourinho's approach didn't just stop Chelsea from playing; it took the game to the opposition. It was also, frankly, a bit of a gamble. Send out a lineup like that and lose, and you'll get hammered for "snubbing the Premier League" and for disrespecting Manchester United's supposed age-old tradition of attacking football. If, on top of that, you also man-mark -- something we rarely see in the modern game, particularly in England -- then, well, you'd better get it right. And even though Mourinho often cops the attitude that he doesn't care what the punditocracy says, he knows full well how it can affect a team and a fan base. Some, encouraged by the performance, went so far as to suggest that maybe this is a blueprint for Untied to follow -- unleash Lingard and Rashford and let them open up opposing defences -- but I'm not sure we'll see that anytime soon. This approach proved to be correct against a specific opponent, but against teams that park the proverbial bus or retain the ball better in midfield, it's far from ideal. Quality matters and there's a reason why Ibrahimovic on his own has scored more than a third of United's league goals this year and why Mkhitaryan cost close to $50 million. But this was a huge victory. It not only showed United can win in a different way, but for guys like Rashford and Marcos Rojo, it was a massive confidence boost. Plus, it maintains two routes into the 2017-18 Champions League. If Mourinho's men can overcome Anderlecht on Thursday, they'll be in the semifinals of the Europa League. And, in the Premier League, they control their own destiny when it comes to a top-four finish. And while it may be tempting to lump in this display with the defeat to Crystal Palace on April Fools' Day, there is a crucial difference: Chelsea dominated that match and actually played very well. On Sunday, by contrast, they were very poor. Conte said he failed to transmit the "right concentration" and "right motivation" http://www.officialnikejetshop.com/bila ... -c-16.html
to his players, but I'm not sure he was being entirely truthful because it didn't look as if Chelsea lacked concentration or motivation. Rather, it looked as if they were out-thought early and then failed to react tactically. That's still on Conte, and you can only guess that he went for the concentration/motivation trope to avoid getting into a tactical discussion. You do wonder if, perhaps, this is where he pays the price for rotating his players so little and sticking to the same crew all season. He gained in chemistry, sure, but it also might mean that his subs are just that -- reserves -- and his starters get a little too comfortable. Conte was right in reminding everyone how far Chelsea have come from last season's 10th-place finish, but that won't change the hurt if they somehow miss out on winning the title. Tottenham are the best team in the Premier League right now, according to Conte, and it's hard to disagree. Spurs made it seven straight wins with a 4-0 hammering of Bournemouth, and that, coupled with Chelsea's loss, means they pull to within four points of the top, with six games to go. Most impressive, perhaps, is the balance in Mauricio Pochettino's side. They have kept four clean sheets during the aforementioned run, while scoring an average of more than three goals a game. What's more, they showed the mental strength to overcome Harry Kane's injury, and when he returned, reintegrated him without missing a beat. Antonio Conte took responsibility for the defeat at Old Trafford, which is fair enough. Chelsea failed to record a single shot on target, failed to keep a clean sheet for the 10th consecutive league game -- their worst run in that department for 20 years -- and, if you're into expected goals, recorded a measly 0.2 xG. Their manager knows http://www.nygiantsofficialstore.com/el ... -c-36.html
better than to point to the non-call on Herrera's handball or the absences of Thibaut Courtois or Marcos Alonso. All might have affected the result, but they certainly did not affect the performance, which was dire. Inevitably you wonder whether Tottenham can pull off what would be an extraordinary comeback and win the title. If you're a glass-half empty type of person, you might point to their run and suggest they beat a bunch of teams with nothing to play for. Stoke, Southampton, Burnley and Watford were all in that midtable "dead zone" between ninth and 13th, where nothing much happens this time of year: Too far away from both the Europa League places and the relegation zone to really get up for it. Bournemouth were 16th but, given the gap between them and the drop zone is seven points, they too are pretty safe. The exceptions were Everton, against whom Spurs needed a wild finish and an injury-time goal to win 3-2, and Swansea, where having trailed for well over an hour, they somehow scored three times after the 88th minute. Still, you can only beat what's in front of you, and the run-in will offer a much sterner test to Pochettino and Co., starting with three straight London derbies. On either side of Arsenal on April 30, Spurs meet Crystal Palace and West Ham. Both may be safe, but there is a genuine rivalry between the clubs. Those games are followed by the visit of Manchester United, who presumably will still be chasing a top-four spot. Then there is a visit http://www.authenticmetshop.com/authent ... ersey.html
to Leicester before a final-day trip to Hull, who might need points to ward off relegation. It's a nasty run-in, but all Tottenham can do is continue to turn the screws on Chelsea, while hoping that last season's collapse was a learning opportunity.